Winnipeg mayoral candidate Shone says parking lots are too big, costs passed on to consumers

Mayoral candidate Rick Shone says Winnipeg developers build parking lots so big, customers and tenants end up paying the price in the form of more expensive goods or higher monthly rents.

Shone, who owns the outdoor-gear retailer Wilderness Supply, said if he’s elected mayor in October, he would do away with the minimum parking requirement laid out in the city’s zoning rules.

“I think it’ll make buildings really more affordable. Parking is expensive and whether people see it or not, it’s always passed on to the consumer,” Shone said Thursday outside city hall.

The Winnipeg Zoning Bylaw, which governs development in the city outside of the downtown area, has three full pages listing off minimum parking requirements.

Restaurants, for example, must have at least one parking spot for every 100 square feet of space. Shopping centres must have one stall for every 250 square feet.

Shone said that has resulted in sprawling parking lots with more stalls than the demand ever requires.

“You can see the perfect example when you go to … big-box stores that have massive parking lots. Even on the most busy days, you still get a whole lot of empty parking,” he said.

Winnipeg requires developers to build parking lots that are larger than the demand for spaces, says mayoral candidate Rick Shone, who has promised to do away with minimum parking requirements. (Google Maps)

He also said the minimum parking requirement is an impediment for new businesses.

Shone said when his store moved to a new location, he had to strike a deal with a neighbouring property owner to satisfy the city’s parking requirements.

Several other Canadian cities, including Toronto, have eliminated minimum parking requirements for some new developments.

Shone said the change would not be an instant panacea.

“This is really just a moderate policy,” he said. “The change takes time because development is slow.”

Shone is one of 10 candidates registered to run for mayor. Idris Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Chris Clacio, Scott Gillingham, Shaun Loney, Jenny Motkaluk, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Desmond Thomas and Don Woodstock are also running.

Registration allows candidates to raise and spend campaign funds. They must also complete the nominations process in September in order to appear on the Oct. 26 ballot.

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